Sometimes you’re paused by the window of the quiet living room in your empty house. Watching the end of summer turn into autumn as the days have passed by.
Sometimes you’re just watching, watching as time continues to pass you by. New faces, old faces, loved faces, faces that you’ll undoubtedly miss. Faces you will forever search for in crowds, thousands of miles from home.
Sometimes you’re twenty-five and you’re sitting in the armchair of the house you’ve lived in for seven years, drinking tea with your cold bare feet rested upon the wooden coffee table, listening to acoustic music with lyrics that are digging up memories that you thought you had long ago buried. You’re just sitting there contemplating, thinking about the work you should have done last night and the dirty dishes always awaiting you in the kitchen. And also more exciting things like the movie you borrowed from your colleague that’s laying on the coffee table and the long weekend ahead and relationships that have recently come along unexpectedly. Or the ones that are slipping away from your memory, which is much less exciting. You don’t write as much as you should, or talk as much as you’d like to. Instead, you just have these moments where everything is frozen and the buzzing sounds around become drowned out. And as you realize this you just don’t feel as comfortable in the worn armchair as you did ten minutes ago, or even comfortable in your own skin as you think about the flawed past. Home doesn’t feel like home anymore, but neither does your Mum’s house, at least in the flesh. When there is no home, where are you supposed to find comfort for your unsteady heart? There used to be the comfort of coming home to the ears that listened everyday and the eyes that observed your swift mood changes and the warmth that wasn’t shared with anyone else but you. But when you start feeling trapped within this seven-minute sincerity, where thoughts of this person you are feel foreign and you both miss and fight the memories you bring to mind.
Sometimes you realize that you’ve never been very good at making decisions, and even less frequently, good decisions. It could even be said that you’re great at making bad decisions. Bad decisions, spur-of-the-moment decisions, ill informed decisions, rash decisions. Every decision has led to this moment in your life. And when did it begin? You start to wonder at which point in your life did this start to happen. Was it through the stress of education, the turmoil of past failed and broken relationships or the breaking away from the family that loved each other so fondly. You start to wonder why you can feel alone when you’re in a group of people. Why do you fall in love with anyone who gives you the slightest attention? And why do you find the unavailable so alluring?
Sometimes you’re young enough to fall for the lustful allure wherever you turn. You must carry the scent on your skin. Your mind is begging for love, you can hear it in the words you speak. They might not be able to hear it, but they can taste it on your skin. Like wasps with fear, your lovers felt your desperation. You’ve caught yourself feeling sad about things that just don’t matter anymore.
Sometimes you’re erratic, unreliable and needful. You always wonder about what could have been, what might have been, if life was different. If you had taken more opportunities. Said yes more. Said no more. Left the house five minutes later. Chosen a different way to work. Looked up at a different moment. You realize you shouldn’t spend so much time dwelling on things that aren’t present. Dwelling on the past can be harmful in large doses. You think about those pictures that are still in your wallet. The ones of the friends you no longer stay in contact with and the ones of someone who recently decided they no longer wanted to be part of your life. But you look happy, so you keep them behind your stamped cards. You threw away the pictures that never should have been taken in the first place, the drunken moments where you’ve felt peaceful in the state of a mix of whiskey, rum, and self-avoidance. Where does this all come down to? Love that’s been lost can be heartbreakingly beautiful. Not for the want or need of having it back, but the appreciation of sharing these times with someone whose skin felt so familiar against yours. How far have you travelled for men who have never warmed your cold skin in theirs?
Sometimes you start to wonder whether this happened before at another age. Were you sat in this same chair in this very same moment a year or two ago? With less hindsight, less wisdom, less experience. Each momentary bump in your life has been characterized by your own actions. Was the heartbreak more raw? Was the overload of work as tormenting? The timetables as scribbled upon? The kettle as regularly filled with brittle water? Just because you’re several years older, more experienced, more worn, doesn’t mean that these things feel any less significant than they did at that moment in time for you before. You know you’ve only really just started this real adult life, yet this almost makes it so much worse.
Sometimes you know you’ve had the same thoughts before. You’ve been led on the floor, in your empty house, with an aching heartbeat and a sore head, thinking about the torment in your thoughts when you begin to stare at walls for too long and they all jump in on the moment. Taking advantage of the gap in your thoughts, pouring in through the broken barricade. Will these mistakes be continuous? Forever going back and making the same mistakes, over and over again. Falling into the same traps with the same people. You begin to realize that your own company is the most satisfying kind of company. With no one there to affect you, the peacefulness of knowing where you stand with yourself. Always one step ahead of yourself at all times.
Sometimes you realize that you’ll never be any younger than you are now and you’ve also never been this old before. Each passing minute is another aging minute and another minute feeling unsure about how to progress. How to live in your own skin, how to deal with past demeanors, how to stop yourself from physically clenching up when you squirm about all those stupid mistakes you’ve made in these short twenty-five years. Growing up can feel like your skin is no longer familiar, that every cell in your body is alien to you now. Your body is a suit that no longer fits, you’ve outgrown yourself and you’re not sure on how to find your way from here. You can’t remember how you got here. You can’t remember how you got from thirteen to here and all the same feel like fifteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. Has anyone else felt this way? Maybe this stretched skin suit would feel more comfortable if there was the wise opinion of someone who’s been through this part of his or her life too.
Sometimes you remember hearing promises about the future, promises about flimsy feelings turning into cemented hearts. Hearts you knew were cracked from the start. You thought you could sit around and talk for hours about things you couldn’t say and things you were never able to do. The life you lead should be something that you’re proud of. When breathing and contemplating and considering, you realize that your life is going to be a continuous work in progress. Something that will just time out from occasionally. You need the strength to keep working on this everlasting progress.
The CD has finished with the sound of fading guitar strings. The mug of tea held up between your thighs has gone cold. You’re going to take a deep breath and you’re going to be fine in a few minutes.
I don’t think this feeling ever goes away, no matter how old you are.